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Antidepressants like Prozac are common for treating clinical depression in adults. They also help in improving symptoms of anxiety. People with anxiety deal with intense fear and worry that affects their daily lives. It may last longer than six months without appropriate treatment in most cases.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), anxiety disorders affect more than forty million adults in America.1 However, many such adults don’t receive treatment. There are several treatments for anxiety, including antidepressants like Prozac. Keep reading to know more about this medication, its effects, risks, and more.
What is Prozac?
Prozac is a common antidepressant medication approved for treating panic disorders, which falls under anxiety disorders. Apart from panic disorders, health experts may also prescribe the medication to treat other anxieties.
Prozac’s generic name, fluoxetine, was introduced in the US around the 1980s. It is part of the class of medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Apart from treating major depressive disorders, it helps treat obsessive-compulsive disorder.
As an antidepressant, it’s imperative to use the medication according to the doctor’s prescription. There are different drug forms, including liquid, capsule, and tablet. It’s also available as a delayed-release long-acting capsule suitable for children above ten and adults.
How Long Does It Take for Prozac to Work?
It takes four to six weeks for fluoxetine to work. When the medication begins to work, individuals may observe improved quality of sleep, better appetite, and better relaxation. Someone may also develop interests in different aspects of life and exert energy in more activities. Like many antidepressants, it may also result in significant weight gain.
Is Prozac an SSRI?
As an SSRI, Prozac functions by preventing the human brain from reabsorbing natural serotonin involved in mood regulation. It helps the brain maintain a good amount of serotonin so that individuals can feel better and brain cells can communicate better.
In most cases, the antidepressant is the first line of treatment for individuals diagnosed with anxiety disorders. However, doctors do not prescribe medication without certainty of the presence of a mental health condition. The doctor may also point out possible side effects of Prozac before the prescription.
PROZAC DOSAGE, USES & WITHDRAWAL
It is essential to comprehend the usage of this medication, including the appropriate dosage. Here are more details about dosage, uses, and withdrawal:
What is Prozac Used for?
FDA approves the use of the antidepressant for treating two anxiety disorders, which include obsessive-compulsive disorder and panic disorder. According to Anecdotal research, the medication may be effective for patients with social anxiety disorder.
Some research also suggests Prozac uses may help people experiencing social phobia, while some don’t feel any effects. According to studies, combining the antidepressant with therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy proves to manage symptoms of a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).2
At the start of intake, doctors typically prescribe the medication in low dosages. With time, individuals may need to increase to 20mg every day. The maximum dosage for adults should be 80mg per day. For children and young adults, the recommended dosage is between 10mg to 20mg per day. The doctor determines the best dosage of the medication after diagnosis.
ADDITIONAL EFFECTS OF PROZAC
An abrupt stop in using the antidepressant may result in various health conditions, which are visible physically. In most cases, the withdrawal may extend for two to four days. Symptoms of withdrawal may persist for as long as a year.
Studies show that approximately 56% of individuals who try stopping antidepressants develop symptoms of withdrawal. A sudden stop in the use of antidepressants causes the brain to experience chemical imbalances, which have mental and physical effects.3
Here are some Prozac withdrawal symptoms:
- Mood changes
- Brain zaps
- Suicidal thoughts
Even though it proves to be a significantly safe medication, can you overdose on Prozac? Without immediate treatment, an overdose may result in severe health complications, including loss of life. In most cases, the right dosage of the medication falls within 20mg to 80mg daily. Consuming more than such amounts without consulting the doctor may cause an overdose.
Common symptoms of overdose include headaches, blurred vision, high fever, drowsiness, nausea, and vomiting. If the state of overdose is severe, some common signs include stiff muscles, coma, hallucinations, uncontrollable muscle spasms, and breathing problems.
PROZAC SIDE EFFECTS
The antidepressant has tendencies of causing mild to severe side effects. For instance, Prozac weight gain is a common side effect of the drug from Prozac reviews. Some go away in a few days, but if any remains, consult the doctor for immediate diagnosis. Here are the side effects to note:
Common Side Effects
Common side effects of Prozac medication include:
- Headache: Developing frequent and severe headaches is a common side effect of fluoxetine. The headaches typically occur in both young adults and older individuals.
- Indigestion: Most antidepressants cause digestive problems, including indigestion. Indigestion is a common side effect among SSRIs and serotonin noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors. Since the medication falls under SSRIs, indigestion occurs.
- Dry mouth: Many antidepressants cause dry mouth. It is also one of the common Prozac side effects in women. For this reason, it is advisable to drink water more frequently, chew gum, or suck on sugarless candy.
- Insomnia: Fluoxetine may cause a change in sleep patterns among individuals. However, in most cases, insomnia doesn’t last for too long.
Infrequent Side Effects
Less frequent side effects of fluoxetine are:
- Skin rash: Developing rush from the medication doesn’t occur frequently. The rash typically lasts for only a few days.
- Sexual dysfunction: In a few cases, taking the antidepressant may result in reduced sexual desire or libido. If such effects last long, consult the doctor for help.
- Flu syndrome: Urticaria and angioedema are infrequent side effects in individuals using the medication. It is imperative to see the doctor once the flu develops.
- Asthenia: This condition describes a state of lack of energy or strength to carry out daily activities. Does Prozac make you tired? Asthenia is a subjective sensation of tiredness, different from fatigue, but it still makes individuals tired in some cases.
Rare Side Effects
Some side effects are less common than others. An example is Prozac weight loss, which only occurs for a few weeks or months after first use. Other side effects include:
- Seizures: Seizures due to the medication are very rare and require immediate medical attention. Administer first aid and call an emergency health care number for help when an individual experiences a seizure.
- Fever: In highly rare cases, individuals may experience signs of fever alongside other health conditions as side effects. Common ones include hallucination and problems with coordination.
- Vomiting: Like serotonin syndrome, individuals may vomit as a side effect of the medication. When vomiting occurs, it is imperative to call the doctor immediately.
- Bleeding or bruising: Research shows the medication proves to increase the risk of bleeding and bruising. Individuals may also experience hematologic disorders due to the drug.
PRECAUTIONS AND WARNINGS
Before taking the medication, it is crucial to ensure that the doctor provides every detail about its precautions. It’s inadvisable to take the normal doses of the pill when there are underlying medical conditions like liver disease, seizures, and blood clotting disorders.
Prozac tends to increase the risks of suicide in individuals younger than age twenty-five. The drug may lead to suicidal thoughts or worsening of such thoughts. Stay cautious of the various possible side effects of the medication.
One should not combine Prozac and alcohol. It’s also imperative to avoid some OTC medications, prescription medications, and supplements when taking the drug. Examples of such drugs include antipsychotics, pimozide, oxidase inhibitors, and more.
Who Can and Can’t Take Prozac?
Older individuals above the age of sixty-five years should discuss medication risks with a doctor. Due to the side effects, children or young adults below the age of eighteen years also need to understand the potential side effects of the medication before use.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Since Prozac can easily pass from mother to child through breast milk, it’s imperative for pregnant women to avoid the medication. If a nursing mother needs the antidepressant for anxiety, consulting the doctor should be the first step to take for proper prescription.4
Is there any Food or Drink I need to Avoid?
Some foods to try avoiding include beef, liver chicken, meat extract, avocados, canned figs, and soybeans. All of those foods are tyramine-rich and may cause an increase in blood pressure. It is also important to avoid drinking alcohol with the medication as it enhances sedation, causing tiredness. Alcohol may also make symptoms worse.
Storage and Handling
For the best outcomes and safety when using the medication, storage should be in a room between 59 degrees and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. It is vital to keep it away from light and always keep the container (bottle) tight. Store away from children.
PROZAC PROS AND CONS
Here are some of the upsides and downsides of using the medication:
- Oral medication suitable for daily dosing
- Non-habit-forming medication compared to benzodiazepines
- Generic, which makes it relatively affordable
- Not approved for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- May cause nervousness, insomnia, and anxiety
Patient Tips and Medication Guide
As a patient, the appropriate dosage of generic fluoxetine or Prozac depends on age, health condition, and other used medications. Doctors decide on the best dose depending on how the individual reacts to the substance. Consider having a regular exercise routine, increasing quality sleep, and employing stress management skills for the best treatment outcome.
If you are struggling with anxiety and looking to start the path to recovery, reach out to our team today. We can help you overcome your anxiety and take back control of your life.